50 GOLDEN SUMMERS
A 'LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE' FESTIVAL REPORT
At the time of writing, a week has passed since the 50 Golden Summers Festival came to a close and after a whirlwind of activity, is is time to sit back and take stock of what transpired to be a once in a lifetime experience for all involved.
To begin with, we were thrilled from the outset to have the support of Roy Clarke, the creator of Last of the Summer Wine. Although he wasn't able to join us in person, he did record these words of encouragement to be played out at various events.
FRIDAY 26th MAY, 2023
With no booking required, we were unsure what to expect of the pub crawl. In the end around 30-40 people turned up at various stages for a warm meet and greet. Starting drinks at the Nook – who had prepared their Fill Your Boots With Blonde ale for the occasion – were followed by stops at The Shoulder of Mutton, The Elephant and Castle, O'Briens, and The Holmfirth Tavern.
Once very special stop along the way was at the newly placed statue marker for Bill Owen. It has taken over twenty years for this memorial to Holmfirth's adopted son to find a location in the town and extra special thanks should go to the dedicated people who took it upon themselves to make sure that it was finally on display for the anniversary weekend. The current location is temporary, but we hope that it will result in a permanent home.
SATURDAY 27th MAY, 2023
On the morning of Saturday 28th, a gaggle of brave folks drove along winding country roads in order to reach the patch of land now owned by Summer Wine superfan Chris Oakes. Chris bought this familiar location from the series when it came up for sale some time ago with the ambition of making it a place of pilgrimage for fans. Bacon, sausage and cheese rolls were on hand to provide a hearty start to the day. In the future, Chris' plans include placing a bench on the site so that people can take a break and enjoy the amazing views.
Summer Wine Friendships saw Andrew Bray's talk about his long association with the show and its stars attract many fans to The Holmfirth Tavern, who had to find extra seats!
Andrew first met Bill Owen in 1972 when he was just 11 years old and this was the beginning of an enduring friendship between Andrew and Bill, ending when Andrew helped arrange Bill’s funeral in Holmfirth. He also talked about the history of Holmfirth and Bamforth’s - known for their pioneering work in cinema and the famous saucy seaside postcard.
Summer Wine Memories was our first ticketed event at The Civic and saw Bob Fischer invite a panel of luminaries from the series on to the stage. Some fascinating stories followed from Stuart Fell (Stuntman), Tommy Cannon (Cliff), Jonathan Linsley (Crusher) and David Fenwick (Clegg in First of the Summer Wine). The audience also had the opportunity to ask questions and mingle with our guests, who all loved the opportunity to meet devotees.
The evening's entertainment was provided in the form of Crusher Returns: An Audience With Jonathan Linsley. Jonathan is an amazing ambassador for the series and all who attended were moved by his tribute to his Summer Wine friends and colleagues as illustrated by his beautiful paintings.
Jonathan's wonderful performance was recorded for posterity and will be made available for purchase at a later date.
Across the entire weekend, Holmfirth was swamped with familiar looking garb. From our professional character models, to festive fans and canine costumes – so many people made the effort that it was almost impossible to turn a corner in Holmfirth without running into a familiar sight. Also present for the weekend were two cars of the stars – Edie's red triumph and Entwhistle's van. The former was proudly displayed in multiple locations around the Holme valley and was accompanied by its very own and uncanny Wesley, while the latter was present in the form of the vehicles stunt double – the front cab which was originally used for green screen shots in the studio.
Businesses from around the town also came out in full force to support the weekend, with speciality beers, menus, and displays dotted all over the place. And not just in the expected locations either; did anybody spot the display in the estate agent window?!